After months of workouts, non-contact practices and two-hand touch football, the Wilsonville football team finally got the chance to brush pads in a team scrimmage at Wilsonville High School Saturday, Aug. 19.
The Wildcats split up into blue, silver and grey units and completed four 12-play sessions — with each unit taking turns on the field.
Wilsonville's offense excelled in the first half of the scrimmage and the defense tightened its screws in the second half.
Wilsonville head coach Adam Guenther hasn't yet finalized the starters and backups for the Wildcats' season opener against South Medford Sept. 1 and the scrimmage gave him and the Wilsonville coaching staff a useful opportunity for analysis. Guenther says he will decide on the depth chart by the time Wilsonville hosts its jamboree Thursday, Aug. 24 and the starters will then have just over a week to coalesce in time for the season opener.
"The most beneficial thing is we're still in the evaluation process as far as who we have going where. We have guys battling for spots across the board. It (the scrimmage) allows us to get everybody on film," Guenther said.
The Wildcats worked on their most integral plays and formations in the scrimmage and haven't yet ironed out their more surprising gadgets.
Guenther was impressed with the play of Nathan Overholt and Grant Irby, who are battling for the starting quarterback spot, the defensive line, deep receiving corps and defensive relentlessness during the scrimmage.
Six receivers are competing for starting spots right now while the offensive line and quarterback positions are still being sorted out.
Fifty-seven athletes are on the varsity squad, which is larger than normal, and Guenther plans to utilize players mostly on one side of the ball — a factor that has allowed the Wildcats to outlast teams with less depth in years past. However, lineman Fernando Salazar, tight end and defensive lineman Draco Bynum and linebacker and fullbacks Andrew Gay and Manav Raghubansh could see time on both sides of the ball this year.
"We plan on having hopefully 22 starters and a bunch of two-way rotators so we can stay fresh throughout the game. It's part of our philosophy," Guenther said.
As of now, Guenther says the team is even-keeled and he would like to see a bit more passion but also says they work well together.
"This group really knows how to work with each other. They're in it for the buddy sitting next to them more than themselves. We play the ultimate team game and we can't play it without the guy next to you. This group is taking that to heart," Guenther said.
Wilsonville will compete against Gresham, David Douglas and Willamette in the jamboree Thursday.